How To Stop Coming Over The Top

PGA pro Andrew Reynolds looks at the main causes and possible remedies for this destructive move

PGA pro Andrew Reynolds hitting a driver
(Image credit: Future)

Coming over the top can lead to all kinds of miscues, from a straight pull to the dreaded slice and everything in-between. That's why we've drafted in PGA pro and Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Andrew Reynolds, who discusses the main causes and remedies in the video and article below...

No matter if you're hitting an iron or a driver, coming over the top with your swing can spell disaster. It's often the cause of a slice but can also lead to big pulls depending on how you release the club.

The margin for error is so small if you want to hit it straight, and even when you do manage to sync everything up, this less powerful motion is going to cost you precious yards.

So, if you want to get more enjoyment out the game and shoot better scores, it’s important you set about fixing this flaw. Sadly, there are no magic cures in golf, but the first thing to do is check how far to stand from the golf ball at address. If that's working well, the following drills will definitely help if you apply yourself and commit some time to them.

Weight transfer

One of the most common causes of the over-the-top move is when golfers fail to transfer their weight properly. This can lead to what’s known as a reverse pivot where the weight stays on the left leg throughout the backswing and then shifts onto the right side coming down into impact. The consequences of this action are particularly disastrous with the driver in hand.

PGA pro Andrew Reynolds demonstrating the proper weight shift in a golf swing

With your arms across your chest, hone the feeling of shifting your weight back and through

(Image credit: Future)

A simple drill to help encourage a better move is to set up without a club and place your hands across your shoulders. From there, turn back and feel your left shoulder moving across to your right knee, and then your right shoulder to your left knee as you swing through.

Do this a few times and then try to recreate the feeling with a club in your hands. It’s not going to instantly fix the path of your swing, but over time, it should allow you to deliver club to ball on the right line more regularly.

Left hip bump

Swinging over the top isn’t only for those with a poor backswing. There are many golfers who shift their weight nicely and get the club into a good position only to pull their left hip back violently, which throws the club outside.

PGA pro Andrew Reynolds demonstrating a good drill to stop slicing

Starting the downswing by shifting the left hip laterally will get the club in a better position

(Image credit: Future)

So another thing that will help is to feel a slight lateral movement with the left hip to begin the downswing. As demonstrated, putting an alignment stick in the ground can work as a good feedback tool. What this will do is enable the hands and arms to shallow out and create a more neutral and powerful swing plane.

Seve’s solution

Finally, one of the simple drills Seve used to rely on when he felt he was struggling with this kind of problem – albeit to a lesser extent – was to take his address position and then lift the club up to the point where it was hovering at the same height as his knees.

PGA pro Andrew Reynolds demonstrating a good drill used by Seve Ballesteros to stop coming over the top

Try Seve's baseball-style remedy to stop swinging over the top

(Image credit: Future)

From there, he would swing around his body on that plane to encourage the feeling of attacking the ball from the inside and releasing the hands better. It’s something we’ve also seen Miguel Jimenez do for many years when he is practising.

The great thing about these drills is that they aren't overly technical. They promote feels in order to help you gradually find better positions throughout the swing, rather than forcing the issue unnaturally.

Fixing a swing flaw is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take some of the best players in the world years to fully ingrain something they're working on, so try these drills at the range and start your journey to better golf.

Andrew Reynolds
Top 50 Coach

Location: Royal Cinque Ports

Andrew was appointed Head Professional at Royal Cinque Ports in 1978, aged just 23. He is only the sixth professional in the club's 125-year history. From 2010 to 2013, he was lead coach for the Mens England “A” squad and helped work with many established European Tour players. Andrew also enjoyed success on the European Senior Tour, most notably his top-20 finish in the Senior Open Championship at Turnberry.

Teaching philosophy:

Different golfers have different aims, so players' hopes must be discovered before a ball is struck. The player is buying our experience to take them on a journey which will, hopefully, exceed their expectations. I try to keep the learning experience fairly light to keep the player relaxed and make the time together enjoyable for us both. We generally need to ‘de-clutter’ players' golfing brains and put a filter system in place to help people understand the important factors. 

Most significant influences:

Ernest Jones’s book, ‘Swing the Clubhead’, who stressed that if your set up was neutral, balanced and correct, all body actions were responsive to the club swinging. Peter Thomson, too. He chatted to Henry Longhurst, whom he allowed to explain his simple thinking - set up squarely, point the club at the target, take it away from the ball on the same path that the club attacks the ball on, then from the top of the backswing just bring it back to the ball. Both Jones and Thomson understood the difference between cause and effect. Modern technology allows us to analyse the golf swing in a very technical manner, which has now proved that both were ahead of their time in making a golf swing a simple exercise. We must remember that it’s the clubhead that we are swinging.

Advice for practice:

A structured and disciplined practice session is the only way to develop your golfing skills to the maximum. Always make sure that your setup is perfect before any swing begins - it’s pointless to work on a swing change with an inconsistent and changeable setup. A different setup means a different swing.